Tag Archives: drink driving

Smart helmet prevents drink riding

While drink riding may be rare, it does happen, but not if a Taiwanese smart helmet fitted with a breathalyser becomes available.

The “Bluetooth Alcohol Detection Smart Motorcycle Helmet” was designed by Taipei City University of Science and Technology and has won best invention at the recent Seoul International Invention Fair.

It includes a breathalyser to test the blood alcohol content of the rider’s breath when they put on the helmet.

The helmet is also connected via Bluetooth to the motorcycle and prevents it starting if it detects alcohol on the rider’s breath.

Obviously the bike would be set up to only start in the presence of the helmet, but that doesn’t stop a rider having it as a spare or the pillion wearing it!

Drink driving and riding

This helmet is similar to the Saab-invented Alcohol Interlock which requires a driver to blow into a tube to activate the ignition.

Alcohol Interlock drink
Alcohol Interlock

Repeat and high-range offenders are required by law to install them in their car and on some motorcycles. Check the various laws across Australian states and territories on the Austroads website.

The Taiwanese smart helmet is only a prototype at the moment and we don’t expect any riders would go out and buy one.

It’s not a huge issue in Australia with an extremely small number of riders testing positive for alcohol, but it does happen.

So repeat offender drink drivers/riders could be forced to wear one.

Controversial University of New South Wales Transport and Road Safety Research Centre Professor Raphael Grzebieta has already recommended car-like interlocks for motorcycles.

However, that technology has been found wanting when applied to motorcycles.

Mind you, that didn’t stop him winning the 2019 Kenneth A Stonex road safety award after advocating wire rope barriers, lower speed limits, mandatory hi-vis rider vests and mandatory electronic rider aids.

Honda smart helmet

It’s not just Taiwanese science students who think this helmet tech is the answer.

Earlier this year, Honda filed a patent application for a facial-recognition helmet that would act as a key fob to unlock your motorcycle.

honda helmet key fob radar smartest
Honda’s helmet key fob patent drawing

It features a camera on the inside that identifies your face and then activates the motorcycle.

It would sidestep the problem where a pillion or friend could initiate the ignition with the Tawainese smart helmet.

While we expected it was an answer to a question no one has asked, that may not be the case.

Riders convicted of drink riding or other traffic offences may be required to wear such a helmet.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Riders still mixing alcohol and riding

Riders are still not getting the message about the dangers of mixing alcohol and riding, according to new Queensland University of Technology research.

While alcohol features as a contributing factor in a relatively small proportion of all reported motorcycle crashes, it is more prevalent in fatal crashes.

Despite decades of anti drink-drive campaigns and heavy use of RBT policing, almost a quarter of driver and motorcycle road deaths are related to drinking, says Professor Barry Watson and Dr Angela Watson from the QUT’s Centre of Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q).

Alcohol and crash data

They analysed data from the Queensland Road Crash Databases to review the long-term trend in alcohol-related crashes and injuries from 1981 to 2017.

While alcohol-related deaths were 50% in the ‘80s and are now more than halved, it is still unacceptably high, Prof Watson says.

And despite riders needing all their faculties to operate and balance a motorcycle, it seems more than a fifth are killed with more than .05 BAC.

Over the past five years the percentage of road deaths where liquor was involved was 21.8% for riders and 23.8% for drivers.

“While the percentage of motorcycle riders killed with a BAC of .05 or more is often lower than that for drivers, this is not always the case,” Prof Watson says.

In 2015 and 2016, the percentage was higher for motorcyclists than drivers.

“There is variability in the percentage of those killed with a BAC of .05 or more among both the drivers and motorcycle riders, but this appears more pronounced among the motorcycle riders possibly due to the overall fewer numbers of riders being killed,” he says.

More lethal

 Prof Barry Watson alcohol
Prof Watson

Prof Watson also points out that the involvement of alcohol in non-fatal crashes is considerably lower for both drivers and motorcycle riders.

“This highlights the fact that alcohol-related crashes are generally more severe in nature since they involve other factors that exacerbate the consequences of the crash (e.g. higher speeds, run-off the road, hit objects),” he says.

“I suspect that this increased likelihood of a crash being severe if alcohol is involved would apply equally, if not more, to motorcycle riders.

“As such, the prevalence of alcohol in motorcycle rider fatalities (as well as driver fatalities) is higher than you would expect compared to the number of impaired riders on the road, due to the increased likelihood of an alcohol-related crash being severe.”

RBT effectiveness

However, he says the “vast majority” of motorists intercepted for random breath testing by the police are below the limit.

“Queensland Police currently undertake over three million RBTs annually, resulting in over 17,000 offences. This equates to almost one test per licensed driver every year and a detection rate of 1:178,” he says.

“This confirms that most drivers and motorcycle riders are doing the right thing and complying with our alcohol limits,” he says.

“Unfortunately, however, the chances of being involved in a road crash, and for that crash to be severe, is greatly increased by driving/riding after drinking.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com